OKLAHOMA CITY —
Most people expected West Virginia to trot out Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Harrison Musgrave for the Big 12 tournament opener against Kansas. They didn’t. The result? A stunning 7-2 loss to the Jayhawks — snapping Kansas’ six-game losing streak — in the lone upset of the first day of the tournament Thursday at Oklahoma City’s Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
“Well, obviously anytime you’re on a losing streak, in order to get things turned around, it starts with your starting pitcher,” Kansas coach Ritch Price said. “Thomas Taylor gave us the starting effort we needed to have to get the lead early. He managed to hold them off and keep them at bay until we could get the offense going.”
The Jayhawks (32-24) benefitted from timely hitting, tallying five runs over the final three innings — including a key two-run double by Tucker Tharp in the bottom of the eighth to blow the game wide open. Tharp went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Michael Suiter also went 2-for-4 with two RBIs as well to lead the Jayhawks’ offense.
Thomas Taylor allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings of work to handcuff the West Virginia (31-26) offense.
Oklahoma State will play Kansas at 7:30 p.m. Friday, while West Virginia will face TCU at 4 p.m.
No. 4 Oklahoma 2, No. 5 Baylor 0
Jonathan Gray started the day throwing six straight balls, but that’s about all the trouble the junior from Chandler had as he silenced the normally potent Baylor offense with a three-hitter as the Sooners (37-19) opened the Big 12 tournament with a 2-0 win over the Bears.
“(Gray) definitely got stronger after the game went on,” Oklahoma catcher Anthony Hermelyn said. “Sometimes you got to go out there and settle the big guy down. He’s got great stuff, and you’ve got to remind him he has great stuff. He needs to have confidence with it and he showed that confidence throughout the game.”
Jack Mayfield had an RBI double in the first and Hector Lorenzana tacked on another run with a single in the third, providing more than enough support for Gray (9-3), who struck out 12 and didn’t give up another walk after the first batter of the game.
Nathan Orf had the only extra base hit for Baylor (27-26), with a double to lead off the fourth inning.
Oklahoma will open the second day of pool play against Texas Tech at 9 a.m., while Baylor will face top-seeded Kansas State at 12:30 p.m. Friday.
No. 1 Kansas State 4, No. 8 Texas Tech 3
Lance Miles scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third as top-seeded Kansas State survived a scare from Texas Tech with a 4-3 victory over the Red Raiders during the second game of the Big 12 tournament Thursday.
“It was just a really clean, good ballgame,” Kansas State coach Brad Hill said. “Both sides pitched very well and there were no errors on either side. It was just a really good ballgame and we were fortunate enough to come out on top. We matched up their only pitcher with our three and that’s kind of how we’ve been doing it all year. Fortunately for us, some things just went our way.”
Trailing Texas Tech 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Wildcats (40-16) scratched across three runs on four hits, inclduing a pair of doubles by Tanner Witt and Kyle Speer coupled with a pair of sacrifice flies by Jared King and Jon Davis.
Eric Guiterrez led Texas Tech’s offense, going 1-for-2 with a two-run homer in the top of the fourth. Trey Masek (5-2) also threw a complete game, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks, but it wasn’t enough to help the Red Raiders (25-29) pull off the upset.